No need for fish tales; register now for Panguitch Lake ‘Big Fish’ ice fishing derby

Stock image, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — It’s time to pull out the ice rods and augers. The 2019 “Big Fish” ice fishing derby is returning to Panguitch Lake for two days: Dec. 27-28.

Stock image, St. George News

On the line this year is a $1,000 cash grand prize, and youth will be competing for $250.

If you have been searching for some unique holiday fun, ice fishing is a great way to spend time with friends and family during the winter months, and Panguitch Lake is a perfect place to do it.

Paiute Indians named the lake Panguitch, which means “Big Fish,” and it once served as a fishery for local tribes. Known for its amazing rainbow, cutthroat and tiger trout anytime of the year, fish up to 2 feet long have often been caught both from the shore and through the ice. To this day, it remains one of the most popular lakes in Utah.

Steven Lee, Panguitch City events coodinator, told St. George News that people travel from all over the country — not just from Utah —  to visit the region’s many attractions and seek the thrill of catching one of the lake’s abundant record-setting fish.

“It’s definitely one of the most reliable places that you can go fishing and be assured you’re going to catch something and have a great time,” Lee said.

Nearby Bryce Canyon and Red Canyon are especially beautiful and scenic during the winter months, he said, and the recently remodeled historic Gem Theater in the city of Panguitch is a fun place to kick back and enjoy a break after a long fun day of fishing.

Several new restaurants have also opened up in the area, including the Rambler’s Cafe, Big Fish Family Restaurant and the Desert Grill, featuring the best barbecue in area.

Many prizes will be given away at the fifth annual event, and participants will be angling daily for the following:

  • Longest fish.
  • Heaviest total catch.
  • Drawing of all caught fish. Fish are awarded one point per ounce and one point per inch. A number will be randomly drawn, and the fish with points closest to that number wins.
Poster for 2019 Panguitch Lake ice fishing derby, courtesy of Panguitch City, St. George News

Only rainbow trout are allowed. Anyone who is registered for the event and catches a fish tagged “Panguitch City Events” will be entered into the grand prize drawing for $1,000. If no tagged fish are caught by the end of the derby, all participants will be eligible for the drawing held Dec. 28 at approximately 3 p.m.

Fish must be entered by 3 p.m. each day at the Panguitch Home Center located at 24 E. 100 North in Panguitch City. Participants must be present to win for all prizes.

Registration for the Big Fish derby is $20 for adults and $10 for youth 12 years and younger. Registration can be completed online or by calling Panguitch City at 435-676-8585. Deadline is Dec. 26 at midnight. Forms may also be emailed to [email protected] or sent with payment to Panguitch Big Fish Derby, PO Box 75, Panguitch, Utah, 84759.

Located 18 miles south of town at an elevation of 8,212 feet, the ice on Panguitch Lake can exceed 12-18 inches during the winter, but be sure to check the depth before entering. Event organizers remind everyone to follow all rules and regulations in the 2019 Utah Fishing Guidebook.

Visit the Department of Wildlife Resources website for the latest fishing report.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

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Twitter: @STGnews 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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